Gambling Winners, Casino Records & Legends
by Frank Scoblete
Gambling history records these gambling winners,
runs and greatest legends. May all casino players aspire to
Gambling Winners: Blackjack Casino Records
you rather be lucky or skillful? Many gamblers have asked that
question. I believe that it is better to be skillful so that when luck
comes you are ready for it.
Blackjack is a game of skill but some people have ridden lucky streaks
to incredible wins.
In the spring of 1995, an old man found treasure at Treasure Island in
This was a rags to riches to rags story about gambling winners that has
now taken on the aura
can tell you it did happen by my interviews for a book. It is a
complete story of the man sometimes referred to as “the million dollar
bum.” These interviews were done mere weeks after the events.
is the most amazing blackjack streak of all time: A smelly bum, whose
wife has just kicked him out of the house, cashes in his $400 Social
Security check and proceeds to win between 1.3 and 1.6 million dollars
in a weeklong orgy of good luck at the blackjack tables. The folks who
deal to him and the folks who serve him say he is the rudest, crudest,
but luckiest bun they ever saw.
At the height of his winning he
alienates just about everyone he meets at Treasure Island. When he
finally blows his incredible bundle (oh, yes, he loses just about all
of it back to the casino), then owner Steve Wynn steps in and has him
escorted out into the neon night and into the dawn of a new Las Vegas
However, a shorter but also improbable streak took place
at the Maxim Casino in Las Vegas in July of 1995 (just weeks after the
bum’s rush), when a $5 player won 23 straight hands -- some with
doubles, splits (wins on both!), and splits with doubles (wins on them
all!) -- in blackjack playing heads up against a dealer in a six-deck
This gambling winner was playing perfect basic strategy but,
still, 23 straight hands is an amazing run. On the fourth hand, he
started to increase his bets and he won several thousand dollars in
In the early and late 1970s the most exciting
player in history, Ken
Uston, beat the casinos in Vegas and
Atlantic City out of over five million (some say 10 million) dollars
utilizing a concept called “team play.”
Here is a sample of how
team play worked: Relatively small-stakes players took seats at various
blackjack tables throughout the casino where they counted cards and
used basic strategy to play their hands. When the shoe became positive
for the player (many big cards were left), a small-stakes player
signaled a “big player” (Uston) to enter the game, make large bets,
sometimes table maximum bets of $500 to $2,000, and depart once the
shoe went negative.
It was a remarkably effective system that some
teams still utilize to this day. It got Uston fame, fortune and the
boot from just about every casino he played in.
Gambling Winners: Poker Casino Records
the most extraordinary of recent legendary streaks is possessed by Mr.
Archie Karas, a Greek immigrant, who in 1992-1993 had one of the
greatest runs in Vegas history.
Starting with a borrowed stake of
ten thousand dollars, Archie went on a rampage of poker at Binion’s
Horseshoe, defeating 15 of the world’s greatest poker players in
head-to-head competition, including World Champions Chip Reese, Stu
Unger, Puggy Pearson, and Johnny Chan.
When he ran out of poker
competitors, Archie headed to the Horseshoe’s craps tables where he won
millions more. At one point in his run, Archie possessed all of the
Horseshoe’s $5,000 chips -- over 11 million dollars worth.
When the run was over, Archie was up over 17 million dollars between
poker and craps, all at the Horseshoe.
Gambling Winners: Baccarat and Blackjack Casino
The most written about, most admired, and, to some the most feared
of the gambling winners was Australian billionaire, Kerry Packer.
When it comes to Packer, it’s hard to get the facts straight.
either won 20, 30 or 40 million dollars over several days at MGM Grand
in Las Vegas in 1997 and caused several casino executives to get the
axe for reeling in this big whale who sunk their quarterly earnings
The myth of Australia’s gambling media tycoon just gets
bigger and bigger with a capital “b” as in baccarat and blackjack, his
preferred games. Kerry is said to have tipped one cocktail waitress a
Savor this tall-tale about Packer: A loud and obnoxious
Texas high roller is playing at the same table as Mr. Packer. Finally,
Kerry asks the man to ease up. The man gets louder: “Do you know who I
am? I am worth 60 million dollars, pardner!” Packer eyes him and says,
I’ll flip you for it!
Winners is followed by Gambling Terms Quiz
to Gambling Tips and Strategies
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